I am a survivor! My story is a bit different than the others I have read here on the Survivor Wall but I still think it needs to be told. I survived 13 years of every abuse there is, physical, mental, sexual, emotional, verbal, etc. Below is a very brief summation of my story. There is no way in a short message that I can make you understand the horrors of what my family lived through. But I want people to know that this stuff is happening in our world. It is all around us! We must make people aware of this or it will never stop!
When I was 3 years old, my mom moved in with a man and from that point forward I always considered him my step-dad. I was 1 of 4 children at the time, 2 sisters and 1 brother, ages 2 to 6. He would beat mom all the time. And I don’t mean just a slap or a shove every now and then. I mean BEAT and it was at least once a week. She had broken arms, busted lips, blacked eyes. She was kicked in the stomach with cowboy boots, she was shot at, she was hung from a tree. I could go on and on. She didn’t think she could leave because she had no job and really no place to go. My step-dad had made certain that she was disconnected from all of her family and friends. They were all left behind in the town she moved from to be with him. She wasn’t allowed to have any contact with them.
I don’t remember when he began to molest me and my sisters but it occurred as far back as I can remember (the black and white picture is me about the age when I believe it began). At age 12 he raped me (the color photo is me at 12). My older sister who was 13 at this time had already been raped by him several times. The following year she became pregnant by him and gave birth to his child. She eventually ran away but when she found out that he was continuing to do the same to me she came back with his promise to leave me alone. It didn’t happen. Finally at age 16 I was brave enough to seek help. I called my biological father’s family (who I hadn’t had contact with since I was 3) and they said they would help, that I would hear from them soon.
About a week passed and nothing. I was about to give up hope when one day I was called out of class at school. The department of children services was there to see me. I thought I was being rescued! I told my story but was told they couldn’t do anything until their attorney returned from out of town. So I had to go home and act as if nothing had happened. And was given the instructions that now that I had told I couldn’t allow him to touch me. What?!?!? I knew if he tried and I fought I would die. I had no doubt about that. So I just started praying that he would stay away from me until I could get away. They returned 5 days later and took me from school. I went to a doctor for an exam and then on to a foster home. They wouldn’t take my siblings until they had a chance to investigate. I was devastated. I really didn’t think they would fair well because of the way he had responded when my older sister had ran away. We almost died that night.
Amazingly he didn’t react. He didn’t lash out at the rest of the family. He was arrested the following day at his place of work. I was taken down to give a statement and was there when they brought him in. I was scared to death! A few weeks later we had a hearing to see if there was enough evidence to hold him on the rape charges. I testified. It wasn’t easy with him sitting there staring a hole through me but I knew it had to be done. There was no way I could be returned to that life. I knew I wouldn’t survive. After I testified, they called my younger sister to the stand. She was very fragile and broke down so they called a recess. During the recess the attorneys worked out a deal for him to plead guilty to a lesser charge and we accepted so we wouldn’t have to go to trial. He was sentenced to 34 years in the state prison. We were just happy to be free!
As it turned out some how he never went to state prison. He ended up only serving like 4 years in the local county jail.
About 15 years later I was contacted by a detective from a neighboring county. Turned out he had been arrested again for the exact same thing with his new “family!” The detective wanted to know if I would be willing to testify if it went to trial. Sign me up! I felt awful that I hadn’t done it before and he had been free to torment more children. My older sister and I both testified at his trial. Still wasn’t easy but it felt great to be able to tell my story. I was told that after my testimony he had requested a recess so he could go to the restroom. He was escorted to the restroom by two police officers. Just as they got inside the door his face turned white and he collapsed. They really thought he was having a heart attack. The District Attorney said he thought it was because of my testimony. I think he knew with my sister and I there to show the history he was not going to walk away this time!
After a week long trial he was found guilty on several rape charges along with a few others. He was sentenced to 99 years plus life in the state prison. That was approximately 10 years ago and he’s still there. Assuming he doesn’t find a loop hole and wiggle out of this one too, he will never be able to hurt another child, ever!
I want people to know that they CAN stand up to these monsters! There are people out there to support you. Had my mother been strong enough to leave early on I nor my siblings would have had to live thru hell. Somehow, I guess because of my faith in God, I was able to find the strength when I was 16 years old to say enough! Sadly I was too young to realize that if we didn’t push to have him locked away that he would continue to destroy others’ lives. But then it another young lady stood up and found the strength to end the abuse her family was enduring. It can be done!
If you would like you can read more about my life in my blog at VolunteeringWithYukonChic.wordpress.com.